No. 250

765.00/2–551: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy (Dunn) to the Secretary of State 1


3378. Department pass Moscow, VOANY. Probably as result of having been put on defensive by resignations of Cucchi and Magnani2 (Embtel 3339, February 2 to Department repeated Moscow 95, Paris 4713) and in CP eagerness to convince Italians that they [Page 569] should not fear aggression on part of Soviet Union, we note that no less militant than Secchia stated in speech at Noyara yesterday that “military power of Soviet Union is inferior to that of Atlantic bloc”. This statement according to fellow-travelling Paese was made by Secchia in response to Christian Democrat propaganda to effect that Italy has right to arm itself against overwhelming military might of Soviet Union.

We also note in this connection that Italian CP leaders include Secchia on this occasion feel increasingly obliged to resort to following argument: “We say that if Soviet Union had intention to commit aggression it would not wait until Atlantic army is organized”.

We are at loss to understand how veteran like Secchia lost self-control to extent of saying that military strength of Atlantic nations is stronger than that of “Socialist fatherland” and are inclined to believe that editors of Paese did not catch this slip-up. No edition of Unita appeared today and accordingly it will be interesting to perceive how it treats this statement tomorrow. We suggest that VOA exploit this statement as example of extent to which Communists feel obliged to defend “peace-loving” Soviet Union.

  1. Repeated to Moscow and Paris.
  2. According to telegram 3265 from Rome, January 29, two Communist Party Deputies, Aldo Cucchi and Valdo Magnani, resigned from the Party. In Ambassador Dunn’s opinion, the “fact that these militants were two most important CP leaders at Bologna as well as in Emilia Provinces … gives some measure of importance of their decision to take initiative and break with Moscow prior to their expulsion.” (765.001/1–2951)
  3. Telegram 3339 described the reaction of the Communist press in Italy to the “defections” of Cucchi and Magnani. (765.001/2–251)